The backbone of our sport. Those who spend their weekends at local footy games, run footy clubs, help Raiders home games run smoothly and so much more.
This week, from the 18th-24th of May, is National Volunteer Week. This annual event recognizes and celebrates the work of volunteers across the country.
Volunteers are pivotal to the success of both the Canberra Raiders and Canberra Region Rugby League. Without their dedication, rugby league in Canberra and the surrounds would not exist.
This year’s National Volunteer Week theme is ‘Changing Communities, Changing Lives’. It is every volunteer’s commitment and contribution that allows people to get involved in rugby league, be part of a team, build friendships and change lives.
Raiders Community Engagement Manager Tayla Shields said volunteers were a vital part of the Raiders family and the club’s volunteer program was one of the best in the NRL.
“The Canberra Raiders customer service volunteer program continues to grow every year. We are grateful for the over 100 volunteers that assist our club in and around game day,” Ms Shields said.
“The new volunteer program - The super squad program which has been introduced in the past two years, sees assistance from members of the community with different disabilities.
“We are extremely grateful for the endless support and time contributed by our wonderful volunteers.”
Raiders Captain Jarrod Croker also praised the club’s volunteers and said they were always smiling and friendly whenever they greet members and fans on game day.
“I’ve obviously been around the club for a number of years now and it’s a great feeling to see the club’s volunteers at our home games and events,” Croker said. “They always come over and say hi and they genuinely care about the club and the players.”
“As captain I want to take the opportunity to thank them for their efforts and I can’t wait to see them all when we get back to GIO Stadium again.”
Beyond the Raiders, there is an army of volunteers in community rugby league. Junior volunteers, usually parents, spend their weekends at local footy games, helping run the junior competitions. Senior volunteers, often former players, are involved in coaching and the administration of their clubs.
Canberra Region Rugby League Chairman Gary Green, a volunteer himself, said that like all major sporting bodies, CRRL rely on their volunteers to operate and provide a service so everyone can be involved in our great game.
“Many of our volunteers are only with us for a short time whilst their children are playing, whereas others stay on and become the foundation members for many clubs, for the love of that club, and then eventually for the love of the game,” Mr Green said.
“Being a volunteer is a rewarding experience especially when ‘out of the blue’ a stranger comes up to you and shakes your hand or gives you a hug and says thank you for what you are doing.
“Although as volunteers we are not looking for that recognition, it is something we do because we choose to and we want to make things better for all that are connected to the game.”
On behalf of the Canberra Raiders and Canberra Region Rugby League, we want to say THANK YOU to all our volunteers.”